"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, July 24, 2020

Original Sin? Guilt? Neither?

Is there a topic more prone to abuse at the hands of tendentious pamphleteers and apologists than original sin? Is there a figure more prone to being turned into a theological grotesque than Augustine of Hippo, whether by Calvinist or Orthodox apologists? I confess I have no patience with these games. Nor do I have the least patience for those denying belief in original sin, evidence of which is manifestly available as soon, far, and near as the eye can see.

Along comes a new book that puts Christians of different traditions into dialogue with one another on this topic, and it includes (as you would expect) strong reflections and rebuttals from the venerable Orthodox scholar Andrew Louth alongside several others in Original Sin and the Fall: Five Views, eds. J. B. Stump and Chad Meister (IVP Academic, June 2020), 200pp.

About this book the publisher tells us this:
"What is this that you have done?" Throughout the church's history, Christians have largely agreed that God's good creation of humanity was marred by humanity's sinful rebellion, resulting in our separation from God and requiring divine intervention in the saving work of Christ. But Christians have disagreed over many particular questions surrounding humanity's fall, including the extent of original sin, the nature of the fall, the question of guilt, how to interpret the narratives from Genesis, and how these questions relate to our understanding of human origins and modern science. This Spectrum Multiview book presents five views on these questions: Augustinian-Reformed, Moderate Reformed, Wesleyan, Eastern Orthodox, and a Reconceived view. Each contributor offers both an articulation of their own view and responses to the other views in question. The result is a robust reflection on one of the most central―and controversial―tenets of the faith. Views and Contributors:
  • An Augustinian-Reformed View (Hans Madueme, Covenant College)
  • A Moderate Reformed View (Oliver Crisp, The University of St. Andrews)
  • A Wesleyan View (Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary)
  • An Eastern Orthodox View (Andrew Louth, Durham University)
  • A Reconceived View (Tatha Wiley, University of St. Thomas)

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